Notes for designer babies presentation After Birth

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					The Nash Family
                                   This is a true story about the Nash family who live in the
                                   USA. The photograph here is of Molly Nash. Molly was
                                   born with a very rare illness called Fanconi anaemia.

                                   When she was born, Molly was very tiny. She was missing
                                   her thumbs and also her hip sockets and she had two
                                   holes in her heart. She grew very slowly and had many
                                   problems with her health: her kidneys, her immune
                                   system and digestion of her food. She needed a lot of
                                   special care, hospital treatment and surgery.

                                     Fanconi anaemia also meant that Molly could not make
                                     her own healthy bone marrow. Molly’s symptoms were
getting worse, and she needed a bone marrow transplant to prevent her from dying. But she
needed a bone marrow transplant from someone with a very close genetic match, and the
doctors could not find a good match.

                                        Molly’s parents wanted another child, but one that
                                        would definitely be free of Fanconi anaemia. They
                                        also wanted their baby to be a close match for Molly
                                        so that the baby could be a donor for Molly. Being a
                                        donor for Molly would not hurt the baby as only cells
                                        from the umbilical cord would be used (the cord is
                                        normally discarded after birth).

                                              What do you think about that?
                                              Should Molly’s parents be allowed to
       select their baby so that it does not have Fanconi anaemia?
      Should they be allowed to select a good match to Molly at the same time, so that
       Molly can be saved?
      If they do not have a baby, what will happen to Molly?
      If they do have a baby, will he or she grow up just like any other?
      What if the bone marrow transplant failed to save Molly, would her parents still
       feel the same about the new baby? Might the child be asked later in life to donate
       bone marrow to Molly?

What happened?
                                                             The laws in the USA are different to
                                                             the ones in the UK and Molly’s
                                                             parents were allowed to carry out
                                                             the treatment and select a baby to
                                                             match Molly. In the image left, you
                                                             can see Molly with her brother
                                                             Adam shortly after he was born and
                                                             she was given the bone marrow
                                                             transplant – she lost all her hair as
                                                             part of the treatment.

The transplant using cells from Adam’s umbilical cord
was successful and both children are now healthy. In the
picture below, you can see Molly, at the age of 10 with
her brother, Adam, her ‘saviour sibling’.

The film and book My sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, was
oringally based on the Nash’s Story and the concept of
saviour siblings. However, the book and film, which are
fictional have very different outcomes to the real-life
happy ending.

PGD scientist Sue Pickering says "The scenario in the film
could not happen in real-life because children cannot be
donors except of their umbilical cords after birth. In the
few cases of saviour siblings that have occurred in the
UK, the outcome has been a happy one if a baby was

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